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Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis


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Has anyone seen the recently released Danny Boon (or perhaps Bune) film?

Or more importantly did they understand any of it?

For those who dont know it is a parody of the the patois of the Nord called Chti, I watched a recording of his one man show at Lille and was amused to see that it was sub-titled so that the rest of France could enjoy it! - All the cinemas in my region have been packed out but does it have the same appeal across the rest of France?

I speak quite good French and usually completely understand and enjoy French cinema but am a little uncertain whether to go and see this one, the excerpts that I saw I understood and were very funny and thankfully very visual.

My French girlfriend thinks that it would go over my head (perhaps intellectually[:)]), actually a lot of the language and slang is very similar to Picard which I am reasonably used to but there were two scenes in his one man show that I could not understand at all mainly because I couldnt work out what the subject was.

Any advice gratefully received.

P.S I noticed that one of the French papers headline for the Sarkozy/bruni visit was "Bienvenue chez les tish" - (Bri - "tish")

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I've not yet seen the film, but it's been very popular down here in the south-west too, with cinemas extending their showings to cope with the demand.  Mr Cat is a native born ch'ti speaker, and I perhaps understand the nordiste accent (and the slang)  better than the southern one but I come unstuck if two ch'ti speakers start really going for it.

I caught a part of a Danny Boon show on TV last night (perhaps it was the same one) and most of that too was subtitled.  Mr Cat reckons I'd find the film hard going, I'm inclined to agree. 

I did like the part of the trailer for the film where he was driving up north on a beautiful clear night, and the moment he passed the Nord Pas de Calais sign the heavens opened and it started to belt down with rain.  It so often seems to do that whenever we go back up north to visit the in-laws.

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The film really does show the warmth of the people in the Nord which is not apparent at first when faced with such a strange language.

The saying is that you cry twice when you stay in the Nord, once when you arrive and the second time when you leave[:)]

Whereas in Picardie you just cry all the time!

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Replying to the OP, we went to see this film about two weeks ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our French couldn't be described as fluent, but we managed to understand properly about 70%, and to follow the rest of it fairly easily.

I'd say go and see it, it's a heart-warming story, we came out of the pictures (that shows my age![:)]) feeling good and glad to have seen it.


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Definitely go and see it - most of the expressions that pass you by will probably pass non-Ch'tis by as well and the film is so visual and well acted that the odd moment of incomprehension won't matter.  Vital bits are translated into "real" French or mimed anyway. My French [Swiss variety] is pretty fluent although not used much nowadays; the Swiss freind with whom I went also had trouble understanding one or two bits but it didn't matter at all.  After all, that's part of the fun. Laugh your self silly, it's entertaining and heart-warming at one and the same time.  [:D]



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My 17 year old son saw it a few weeks ago while on an exchange trip to France with college.  He thoroughly enjoyed it, even though he didn't understand all of it.  He says he'll buy it for me for Christmas as I'd like to see it and he says he would like to see it again.  He's just working on his AS level French, so if he can get enough from it to be amused, probably you should be OK with it.  There was an article about it in the Tele mag a couple of weeks ago and there were a few examples of Chti' in there.  Dany Boon was also on a show on French television late last week and he seems to do a stand up act using some of the jokes which are in the film.  There were a few clips from it too, and yes it was quite hard to understand in random bits, but in context I expect it would be easier.  Unfortunately I dozed off and didn't see all of it.  It wasn't boredom, and it wasn't through drinking the very excellent Cht'i Ambree, as we couldn't get any in the Saumur region!  Perhaps it's a good idea to buy it when it comes out on DVD and use the French subtitles if you don't want to read English ones - I'm not sure it is the sort of film which would get English subtitles, anyway.
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Nor did I

It is a mildly amusing hour and a half, but nowhere near as good as all the hype makes it seem.

There are a lot of tired old jokes, which are even pretty non-PC (an

able-bodied man in a wheelchair pretending to be handicapped, or

barring the door of the bedroom because the host might (horror be


...he isn't, that might upset somebody) : I actually found it quite

offensive at the start, but it quickly became clear that it is so

feeble that real exception can't be taken.

The central performances based on the idea that frenetic action is

funny (à la Louis de Funès) and there is much that is derivative and


It was obviously made as a money-spinning actor's piece.

It is based on the very French idea of being 'muté' somewhere

uncongenial for your job. No question of getting 'on your bike' It is

yet another French retreat into sentimental smugness: none of the real

problems of daily life are to be seen.

How heart-warming all these good folk are [;-)]


It's not "la Grande Vadrouille " but it is an escape from reality.

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I thought it was ok, certainly don't not go to see it for the language element, because if you don't happen to know the local expressions, you just discover them with the character from the south.  I agree with the comments above and I also think it was suprising that with a film about stereotypes the main character didn't have more of a southern accent. I once had a trainee from Salon de Provence and I found him more difficult to understand than anybody in the film!

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Finally managed to leave "mi baracque" and got to see it with "mi ch'ti beloute" who comes from Lille and has already seen it once.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a real feelgood film as someone indicated, nearly as good as "its a wonderfull world" but shorter and outrageously funny.

I had no problems with understanding it, the "chti" phrases that I didnt understand just added to the flavour;

Even "mi ch'ti beloute" found new things to laugh at that she didnt get the first time and she is one!

Oh and the non PC sketches I thought were very funny although I did feel uneasy during the part where they were play acting for the benefit of his visiting wife, it reminded me too much of the parts of UK society that I was glad to leave behind.

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Today I visited my girlfriends parents at their farm in the Ch'tiNord for the first time, its lucky that I had seen the film first to be prepared, they seemed somewhat surprised when I asked for some Maroilles cheese to dunk in my coffee, maybe they thought that a foreigner would not have known to do that?

Frenchie, that clip was my favorite and I will savor the others, in fact I want to see the film again, apparently one poor soul has seen it 17 times!

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Really enjoyed the film!  While I was researching a book on the north of France, all my French friends from elsewhere would say "Why on earth do you want to go *there*!" and insist that the area is flat, boring, industrial, has bad weather, awful food etc etc.   (Not true, by the way! Or where slightly true, that's part of its charm.)   When they saw my photographs with blue sky and sparkling sea, they would exclaim "But it's always raining there; how come you have blue sky in that picture?" 
So in the film the attitudes of the people from the south were exactly what I had come across myself.  (Loved even the motorway gendarmes letting Kad off in sympathy!)

Bergues (main setting for the film) is one of my favourite little towns, still surrounded by its fortifications.  The carillonneur is for real; he plays a two-hour torrent of music - folk tunes and popular music - from the belfry during the brilliant market day on Monday morning.  The town is apparently now having to lay on "Ch'ti tours" for visitors (though its inhabitants are at pains to point out that they are not really Ch'tis, but Flamands).  And I understand that people have begun to steal the town-name signs.  Fame at last.

I saw the film about a month ago, in the rural Vendee, and the cinema was packed out.  Last week, when I was there again, it was still on in just about every cinema.   It is also showing in London at the moment, at the Cine Lumiere by the French Institute in S Kensington, and also I think at the Empire Leicester Square.  I am looking forward to the excuse of a second viewing.

The dialect is not a problem for those with reasonable French; as has been said earlier, you either guess the meaning along with the newcomer character, or it becomes clear from the action.

OK, there are one or two moments that are a bit slapstick, but all in all it's a real feelgood movie, suitable for all generations, and everyone emerged from the cinema with a smile on their face.




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Loiseau, I agree 100% with what you wrote!

I must admit I'd like to see the film again.. [:$]

JR , cheese on bread dunk in coffee " à la chicorée" has always been familiar to me...   My gran is from a small place called Houtkerque , and I ve always seen that  done in my family. My mum was born and bred up north, so even in the south she kept some habits.. [:)]

She makes the best chips on earth [:)] , and I remember when we were kids , sometimes, about once a week, for dinner we had coffee au lait , and we dunk our tartines with cheese on it ..

Yeah, I know, most people will find it disgusting, but I promise... It's good!! [:D]


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If your French is good enough to enjoy this film (I am not talking about the accent, which as other people have correctly said is no barrier as it is explained for the benefit of the southerner) you might be interested by this survey of French critics' opinions:


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The best critics are US : the people , and not a bunch of  so called " intellectuals " stuck inside four walls in Paris !

I'm fed up with their despise for what is not " intellectual"..

Sometimes I want to read great authors, sometimes I want to watch " difficult" films, but sometimes, I want to go to the cinema with my son or friends and have a good laugh , forget about daily life , just have a good time!

And even if there were some clichés, the film was full of humanity IMO .



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